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In this vel, Sharon Kay Penman brings to life a dark period in English history, painting a canvas rich in the textures and colors of the era. Here is the pain and suffering of the incents, the conniving and duplicity of the barons; here is the terrible reality of lawlessness - the burning towns, ravaged countryside, weary people. But above all, here are two extraordinary adversaries: A woman whose courage outran her common sense, who found that her skirts bound her more tightly than any rope. And a man of irdinate charm, as valiant in battle as he was able in friendship - but a man whose life was based on a broken oath and a treacherous lie, tragic flaws that would destroy him. Beginning as friends, they ended in the bitterest enmity, their bloodiest wounds self-inflicted. And if Stephen lost the crown, Maude would never wear it. But in a final irony for both, Maude would indeed be the mother of kings, for it was her eldest, Henry, who would establish the Plantagenet dynasty and, with Elear of Aquitaine, electrify the medieval world.
Sharon Kay Penman has lived in England and Wales and currently resides in New Jersey. She is the author of six other novels: Falls the Shadow, Here Be Dragons, The Reckoning, The Sunne in Splendour, When Christ and His Saints Slept, and the first Justin de Quincy adventure: The Queen s Man.